Helen Waites will have an interactive sculpture, the House of Plyconic, in the churchyard of St John the Baptist on both weekends of the trail.

We asked Helen some questions about her art practice and ideas.


Julie: Please tell us about the work you will be showing in the Leytonstone Arts Trail in 2016.

Helen Waites: I will be showing ‘House of Plyconic’, an interactive stacking sculpture whose pieces will be drawn on by the visitors at the exhibition. The idea came from the unusual shapes of ply I was left with, after making my children’s furniture range. For the Art Trail I’ve scaled these pieces up and invited Syreeta from Indikidual (known for its colourful, playful, patterned kids clothing) to create patterns on some of the pieces. Hopefully the piece will encourage visitors to be daring with their designs, self expression and enjoy the activity of play as they stack, create new shapes and play around with the balance of the sculpture.


House of Plyconic These large pieces of ply can be stacked to create different formations, whilst remaining balanced.

House of Plyconic
These large pieces of ply can be stacked to create different formations, whilst remaining balanced.



Julie: This is the 9th LAT. Have you taken part in the Trail before and what did you do?

Helen Waites: This will be our first Art Trail, so we are very excited to be exhibiting!


Julie: Tell us a little bit about your artistic background/education.

Helen Waites: I went to Art college and studied furniture design at university, part of which was studied in Finland.


Julie: How would you describe your art practice? What kind of things inspire you to create art?

Helen Waites: I have recently set up a small scale furniture company called Plyconic. I can take inspiration from anything, I’m attracted to linear patterns (maybe this is why I love working with ply so much) and repetitions which usually draws me to architecture.


Plyconic's  furniture range

Plyconic’s furniture range



Julie: What are Plyconic & Indikidual?

Helen Waites: Plyconic is a small scale furniture company that takes iconic styles of design and recreates them in ply. Our newest design is Plyve, a children’s desk and stool inspired by French designer Jean Prouve. All our wood is sustainably sourced.
Indikidual is a unisex kid’s wear brand for aged 0 – 10 year olds that lets children’s personalities shine. It’s about encouraging playful self-expression, spontaneity and daring to be individual. All of the cotton we use in our garments is certified organic.


Julie: How would you describe a good day in the studio?

Helen Waites: I enjoy the puzzle making side of designing furniture, working out how to build the pieces. These solutions always seem to pop into my head as I try to fall asleep so this always gives me enthusiasm for the following day.


Helen Waites in the Plyconic workshop "Working from home means my workshop can be flexible."

Helen Waites in the Plyconic workshop
“Working from home means my workshop can be flexible.”



Julie: What challenges (if any) do you face in preparing yourself and your work for the Trail?

Helen Waites: I’m also doing a mini House of Plyconic for the gate post art trail. So my biggest challenge is working out how to fix the piece to the post so it doesn’t blow off in the wind.


Indikidual meets Plyconic. "These mini House of Plyconics will be available to buy at the exhibition."

Indikidual meets Plyconic.
“These mini House of Plyconics will be available to buy at the exhibition.”



Julie: Do you collect art?

Helen Waites: Yes I collect art. To me art is anything that can be appreciated for its beauty or emotional power, so my home is filled with things that are art to me.


Julie: Please tell us something you really like about Leytonstone.

Helen Waites: I love the Hitchcock mosaics at the tube station. I’m a huge Hitchcock fan and I beam with pride when I think of all the great people Leytonstone has produced.


Julie: Besides the Trail, what is coming up next for you and where can we see more of your art in the flesh or on-line?

Helen Waites: Plyconic is launching a new furniture range known as Plyve.
Indikidual will be launching its winter range.